The glue that holds 35 CES together
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Before that persistent bathroom leak gets fixed, expanding family of rats get nixed, or new facilities start growing brick by brick, all work and projects here must pass through one primary hub: the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron's Customer Service Unit and Operations Management.
"We are the liaison between the base populace and all civil engineer related issues from the cradle-to-grave," said Master Sgt. Sam Bellamy, 35 CES Production Control superintendent. "We communicate and process the customer's requirements to our shops and the engineering section and ensure the work is accomplished in a timely manner."
It's a job where size doesn't matter.
"It can be cleaning up an ant infestation or building a multi-million dollar facility," said Airman 1st Class Justin Sprengel, 35 CES Customer Service representative, "but no matter what the job, it all starts here."
Calling himself "more of the hands on type", Sprengel admits it is a bit of a struggle adjusting to working solely behind the desk, joking that the mandatory issue steel toe boots serve as significant protection in the event of a falling computer.
All joking aside, he said that although he is often mistaken for a base operator, the opportunity to work with people in customer service and meet the base's needs feels good in the long run.
The process of getting a work request moving through customer service is cut and dry - work orders must only be submitted by facility managers base wide. Personnel are asked not to contact the engineering section directly, as they will be rerouted to CSU personnel who handle anywhere from around 50 to 100 requests weekly.
Once information on a work order request is collected and approved for in-house work, it then moves to a second phase of the career field where it is either contracted out or the material control folks here get their hands and forklifts moving in preparation.
Airman 1st Class Brian Cheever, 35 CES Operations Management, works similar to a warehouse watchdog, managing and issuing all parts and equipment for approved in-house jobs on base.
"There's pretty much an aisle for everything," said Cheever, referring to the warehouse which holds more than 17,000 items valued at $3.4 million. "Customers come in with approved work orders and I issue them the materials they need to get the job done."
Cheever said it's critical that the CE squadron here maintains the warehouse because the ordering and delivery of materials from the U.S. to an overseas location can sometimes take months.
"The fact that we have everything on-hand means that civil engineers can respond to emergencies or urgent work in a timely manner to sustain the customer's mission and overall base operations," he added.
Material Acquisition supports more than 2,000 facilities and about $6.6 billion in infrastructure.
Next time you wash a Barbie down the drain or shatter your toilet, you know where the glue to fix your problem can be found.
"Yes, that's actually happened," smiled Sprengel. "But that's what we're here for."